Record-Setting Hurricanes Create Beautiful Mess Across The Pacific

Mother Nature is giving Van Gogh a run for his money.

Some strange things are happening in the Pacific Ocean. 

First, for a short period over the weekend, three -- yes, three -- powerful Category 4 hurricanes swirled simultaneously -- a meteorological first of its kind

Kilo, Ignacio and Jimena each had maximum sustained winds of more than 135 mph.

Now, the trio has been joined by a fourth storm, tropical depression Fourteen-E, causing weather maps and satellite images of the storms to draw comparisons to Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night" painting.

This satellite image taken Aug. 31 shows Hurricanes Kilo (left), Ignacio (center) and Jimena (right) surrounding the Hawaiian
This satellite image taken Aug. 31 shows Hurricanes Kilo (left), Ignacio (center) and Jimena (right) surrounding the Hawaiian Islands.
Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night."
Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night."

As if that wasn't enough for the world's weather enthusiasts, one of the Pacific's storms -- Hurricane Kilo -- made the rare transformation from a hurricane to a typhoon when it crossed the international date line on Tuesday.

Hurricane, typhoon and cyclone are regional names for the same tropical weather pattern, but storms don't often last long enough to travel between regions.

Now-Typhoon Kilo has been swirling since Aug. 20 and is actually forecast to strengthen over the next several days. If that happens, it could become the longest-lived tropical cyclone this year. (The record for the longest belongs to 1994's Hurricane John, which then became a typhoon. It lasted 31 days and also crossed the dateline.)

According to meteorologists, this has been a very active hurricane season because of El Niño, which occurs when the waters of the Pacific become exceptionally warm and distort weather patterns worldwide.   

On Tuesday, the World Meteorological Organization warned that the current El Niño could be one of the strongest on record. Moreover, this year's event is still strengthening, with meteorologists expecting it to peak by the end of the year.

While Hawaii has been in the middle of these storms, it has managed to avoid a direct hit so far. The Aloha State is just halfway through the hurricane season, however, and Katherine Aumer, a psychology teacher at Hawai‘i Pacific University, warns the repeated battering of storms can lead to a condition she calls "hurricane fatigue syndrome." 

“There’s a lot of stress and anxiety that can go along with receiving a lot of warnings for hurricanes," she told Hawaii Public Radio, "especially if those hurricanes actually pan out." 

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